This Is A Voice

Vocal surgery and beyond - a singer's experience Part 1: vocal injury, the signs & rehab

April 17, 2023 Kate Bassett singer with Jeremy Fisher and Dr Gillyanne Kayes Season 7 Episode 5
This Is A Voice
Vocal surgery and beyond - a singer's experience Part 1: vocal injury, the signs & rehab
Show Notes Transcript

A World Voice Day Special. Jeremy and Gillyanne interview Kate Bassett on her vocal surgery and recovery.
This year's World Voice Day topic is Your Voice Matters. In this 2-Part podcast, singer Kate Bassett shares her story of acute vocal injury, therapy, vocal fold surgery and voice rehabilitation

In Part 1
0:00 stigma and vocal injury
5:13 how the vocal injury happened
6:48 what happened next
9:10 the missing piece of information
11:22 needing more than just voice rest
12.43 going to the voice clinic
17:43 the impact of a voice problem
21.07 the diagnosis and therapy
24:49 habilitating the voice with Gillyanne
28.14 speech therapist or singing teacher - the difference
30:05 the first gig after the injury
33.22 where to find more on Kate's case history
It's a fascinating and generous story that could happen to any singer
(spoiler alert, everything is now fine)

In part 2 (Season 7 Episode 6) Kate will be sharing why she opted for vocal surgery, going through the process, why a conversation about rucksacks tipped the balance, and how Gillyanne helped her back into full-time gigging within 3 months.

Mentioned in this episode:
Our recommended SOVT (semi-occluded vocal tract) course with Gillyanne, Jeremy and Oren Boder - SOVT part 1 with the Bonus voice science videos in the Learning Lounge Essentials here
SOVT part 2 in the Learning Lounge Deep Dive here

12 More Hours to Better Singing Teaching course (part of our Teacher Pathway) is here

Find out more about Kate Bassett here  or Instagram @katebassettsinger 

Find our more about Gatsby's Jukebox here  Instagram @gatsbysjukebox

This Is A Voice season 7 episode 5
Vocal surgery and beyond - a singer's experience Part 1: acute vocal injury, the signs & rehab

[00:00:00] There is such a stigma about Vocal Vocal injury.

[00:00:03] Mm-hmm. And so often it's said that, uh, "well if you had a better technique, you wouldn't have had that injury". Mm-hmm. The interesting thing about your case is that it was a single one-off event mm-hmm. That could not have been predicted and was nothing to do with your Vocal technique. So it's exactly the same, like you fell over on stage or a piece of equipment fell on you.

[00:00:24] Yes. Not your fault. Yes. Uh, I bet you never blamed yourself for breaking your shoulder blade. Yeah. No, not at all. Mm-hmm. And this is, this is the reason why it's so hard to process it when it happens and to deal with it in, in a safe effective way. It's because before you've even received the information, your brain is berating. You're berating yourself. You're going, no, why? You know, you've, you've done something wrong. You've failed. Your voice wasn't good enough. You weren't good enough. Yeah. And now this has happened. You did this, you did this thing. Yeah. Yeah. You did this. And I think that's why I didn't acknowledge the hemorrhage when it happened.

[00:01:07] I didn't, didn't take in that information, which was so, now it's so obvious, but at the time I was too quick to go, okay, I'm, I'm tired and my technique needs work. You know, I went down a little rabbit hole. 

[00:01:21] this is a Voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. This is a voice. Hello and welcome to This Is A Voice, Season 7 Episode 5, the podcast where we get Vocal about voice. I'm Jeremy Fisher. And I'm Dr. Gillyanne Kayes. And today it's our special release for World Voice Day entitled Your Voice Matters.

[00:02:00] And we have with us a special guest, Kate Bassett, who is a Vocal surgery survivor. Yes. Welcome Kate. Hello Kate. And thank you for being here to share your story with us. Thank you for having me. I'm so honored. I think people are gonna be really fascinated by this because it's a big topic. There's a huge fear, isn't there about, you know, being thought to have a voice problem as a performer and the thought of even having Vocal surgery at all is terrifying. And it's so wonderful to have you here to share your story about what the process is and how you dealt with it and where you are now. But before we get into the nitty gritty Yeah.

[00:02:45] Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your background? What have you been doing? Yeah, who are you? Can I? Well, currently I'm a freelance singer. You know, I do a lot of different gigs, quite a variety of singing. I trained in musical theater. I trained at a dance college.

[00:03:04] Um, I worked on cruise ships for a number of years, so that was sort of your theater shows, onboard ships and then sort of did lots of touring. I've been working since 2007. Gosh, I have to think about that. I'm freelance now. I run a band. And I'm a mum, so I sort of fit my singing around, around mum life and, uh, yeah, that's, that's my career currently.

[00:03:30] Tell us the name of your band. Oh, Gatsby's Jukebox. Oh, nice. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So you doing postmodern jukebox stuff? That's right. Yeah. We do a lot of Postmodern Jukebox. Uh, so listeners don't know that, check them out on YouTube. So it's a real vintage movement. Mm-hmm.

[00:03:49] Um, taking your popular songs that are currently in the charts and giving them a jazzy spin of a different era. And we've been doing that now for about seven years. Lots of events in the UK sort 1920s theme. And it's a lot of fun. It's a great sing. yeah, it's just, oh, I love, I love my job, I love doing it.

[00:04:11] It's great. I mean, and the, I love the mixing of genres that happens with Postmodern Jukebox type stuff. Love it. And I was thinking back to what you were saying about your training if I remember rightly, because everybody, Katy has been my client for quite a long time. She's also worked with Jeremy.

[00:04:30] You went into work pretty well straight out of Dance College. Am I right? Yes. Yeah. Mm-hmm. It was the summer, the summer after graduation. I booked my first cruise ship and, uh, I just went for it, you know, off to sea. And that, that got the ball rolling and I haven't stopped, which I, I, you know, I'm so, so grateful.

[00:04:53] Um, it's been, it's been wonderful. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Because I remember you coming to me, you know, with your, your folder of rep from the college and going through those things in our, our first lessons together. Yeah. masses and masses of experience Oh, yeah. Before you hit this event. So tell us about the event.

[00:05:15] Just give us a little bit of background about the event. Mm-hmm. I was on tour at the time. I was doing an ABBA show that was touring most of Europe, so Germany primarily. So I was out somewhere in, in far eastern Germany, in a dusty theater. And we were coming to the end of the show, so we were probably two thirds of the way through, and I went off stage to do a quick change.

[00:05:42] And during the quick change, something made me cough heavily. I wasn't sick, it came out of the blue. It was sort of a really heavy, hard cough, something that really made impact. And I was probably hairspray and all, all of the things that you're doing when you get changed, bending over, sort of zipping up your boots.

[00:06:04] I didn't think anything of it. Mm-hmm. I went back on stage to announce something. You know, the next song, you sort of high energy announcement going into that last part of the show. Mm-hmm. And it was as though Mute had someone had muted my voice. Mm-hmm. It wasn't, it was, there was nothing there.

[00:06:24] There wasn't even any sort of contact or gravel sound. It was just an instant sudden complete voice loss on stage. Wow. But that's what happened. Terrify and that's terrify terrifying. So interesting because what subsequently happened when you got in touch with me was that neither us really realized that that was the core event.

[00:06:48] Because when you were on tour, you did what most people do, which is you kind of adjusted. And you tried to keep going and it was only after a little bit of that, that you got in touch and said, my voice doesn't feel quite right. And I think you emailed me because you know, we, we weren't able to even speak at that point.

[00:07:11] Yeah. Because of the Yeah. You know, the connections. Tell me more about what you did, if you don't mind, in terms of, you know, what did you do over the next few days? because I think this is so important for the listeners to hear. Right. So I think there was maybe two or three shows left on that particular leg of the tour.

[00:07:31] I tried to conserve my energy and, you know, I guess use my voice less in the day-to-day. You very helpfully sent me some videos of some S O V T. Mm-hmm. Uh, for, you know, a tired voice. Mm-hmm. So I was using a bubble, you know, straw bubbling and sort of, I guess just trying to sort of gently get to the end of that particular leg of the tour.

[00:07:56] and admittedly amidst all of that, probably behaving a little bit chaotically to try and just get through those last shows. Which in hindsight obviously was a very bad idea. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Mm-hmm. How long was it from when your voice cut out completely before you could use your voice at all again? I've not asked you this question before. But the initial cutout I remember I, I mean, for some context I was playing Frida in the show, which is actually a lower, a sort of a lower range than my voice naturally sits at.

[00:08:36] But I remember sort of it did come back, but it was very, very low. And it wasn't, you know, I was struggling. So I had this sort of low voice. So I think I was just singing down the octave initially in that, that, in at the sort of the initial moment where it happened. And then after that point I was, I guess just, just maintaining and I was able to sing the show, but obviously my voice sounded husky, tired, very craggy you know, all the things that you would expect in both speaking and singing voice.

[00:09:10] That complete voice loss was sort of a moment momentary. And then yeah, and then obviously I had a, a bad voice quality going forward. Okay. So that's interesting and again, very super interesting for singers and teachers to know, which is because you and I weren't able to speak because of the communication issues at the time with you being on tour, uh, I wasn't able to ask you and listen to your speaking voice quality.

[00:09:39] So what you're saying is your speaking voice quality wasn't normal, not just that your singing voice was low and gravelly compared with normal. Is that right? That's right. Yeah. Yeah. I do think, you know, my speaking voice, I mean this is something, we'll, we can come to you later, but my speaking voice used to get more tired than it does now as a result of, you know, everything that we'll talk about coming out of the injury.

[00:10:04] But You know, I, I guess it was, it was more than your, your, your average sort of what you would expect to have Vocal tiredness on, you know, on a busy tour. Mm-hmm. It was more than that, you know, and, and you are right. The, the travel schedule was what got in the way of me being able to talk to you. And I was begging the tour manager, let me please just have a session with my, with my coach, you know? Can you just pause, just wait, give me an extra hour in the morning after breakfast before we check out. And, uh, we couldn't get that time together and I didn't tell you that crucial bit of info as well, unfortunately. So one of the key issues was that you were on tour, which meant, I mean, were you traveling every day? Yes. Even on days off, that would be a travel day.

[00:10:51] Um, so that was quite grueling. Yeah, I, I've done those tours and I've done those tours around Germany. Mm-hmm. Exactly where it's a, you know, new venue every day. And that meant that it was, that meant it was difficult for you to get together with me and have a conversation. Plus as we later found out when we were prepping to do a tour, I think it was your first tour post-operatively, we talked about, you know, uh, tour bus management, warmups and so forth. Yeah. Which we might go into later. 

[00:11:22] So I'm just gonna backtrack. We weren't able to speak. Mm-hmm. You didn't realize the significance of the coughing and the voice disappearing immediately. And so you did what every performer tries to do, which was you carried on.

[00:11:40] Yep. Yeah. Yeah. At what point did you realize you needed help and that this was not going to go away? Um, it was when I came home and I planned, planned some rest time in, so I had about nine days at home. And in that nine days I had one very small gig that I struggled to cover, which wasn't, it was very low key, sort of low pressure.

[00:12:07] And I had a recording session and my voice was unpredictable. It was doing things that had never done before. simple things. Sirening, missing big, big parts of your range. And it not being just a little crunchiness, it was, you know, something that was impossible to ignore. Pitch as well as the other unpredictable thing.

[00:12:29] Um, I, I don't have an issue with pitch, so, you know, sometimes things were kind of coming out, you'd send it one way and it would sort of go in a different direction. And I was thinking, what's happening? You know, this is strange, strange happening. Mm-hmm. And these are very, I mean, they're, they're very clear signs and they're also very unsettling.

[00:12:47] They're important, uh, signals. And that's when you were able to get in touch with me and we said that you needed to go to a voice clinic. What was it like just to hear that piece of information you need to go to a voice clinic? Was it okay? Was it terrible? Um, Well, actually I'd, if you don't mind me saying, I'd already booked to see somebody.

[00:13:10] Mm-hmm. But I had to wait. And that, that was the, the issue. So I think it's so funny because it was quite a while ago, you sort trying to unpack it all, but I, I, as I recall it was sort of the start of March where things were going wrong and I couldn't see anyone until the 30th, the end of the month.

[00:13:27] And that was, you know, when I could go. And so in that time I was sort of trying to adapt not stopping completely. And so yeah, just that wait time was where we sort of came a bit unstuck. I Think the important thing by the sound of it was that it was okay in your, in your mind, you were going, there is something that is just not working and it's becoming unreliable and I need to go and find, find it out what it is. Yeah. So you were okay to go to the voice clinic and, and be scoped and sort of to see what was going on down there.

[00:13:57] Yeah. Yeah. You know, I think when you've got that pressing calendar of dates you need, you need that, uh, that certainty. You need to find out and quick. Yes. As quickly as you can. And so that wasn't an issue for me. But in, in that wait time, kind of, uh, letting people down, kind of trying to work around things, that was, that was sort of where it got muddy and messy for me. Yeah. Yeah. Yes. And that's a challenging time for a professional. And I think what's interesting is that a couple of years previously you'd had a physical injury on stage, hadn't you? I think you broke your collarbone or something. I remember I fractured my shoulder blade and displaced

[00:14:42] I sound like such a treat, don't I? I'm just constantly walking into these disasters. Yeah. I fractured my shoulder blade and I displaced and cracked some ribs. Wow. Which for a singer, you know, it, it sort of was causing some, some, uh, postural issues. Yeah, for sure. But you'd had physical injury before and yet my sense is this was a Vocal injury and we do know now, and we can say, so you had a Vocal fold haemorrhage.

[00:15:13] Yes. Due to the coughing, the extreme coughing. You were bending forward. It was dusty. You coughed violently. And very sadly, this can happen to any singer or non singer. I, I just want to pick up on this because I think this is a really important thing. There is such a stigma about Vocal Vocal injury.

[00:15:35] Mm-hmm. And so often it's said that, uh, "well if you had a better technique, you wouldn't have had that injury". Mm-hmm. The interesting thing about your case is that it was a single one-off event mm-hmm. That could not have been predicted and was nothing to do with your Vocal technique. So it's exactly the same, like you fell over on stage or a piece of equipment fell on you.

[00:15:56] Yes. Not your fault. Yes. Uh, I bet you never blamed yourself for breaking your shoulder blade. Yeah. No, not at all. Mm-hmm. And this is, this is the reason why it's so hard to process it when it happens and to deal with it in, in a safe effective way. It's because before you've even received the information, your brain is berating. You're berating yourself. You're going, no, why? You know, you've, you've done something wrong. You've failed. Your voice wasn't good enough. You weren't good enough. Yeah. And now this has happened. You did this, you did this thing. Yeah. Yeah. You did this. And I think that's why I didn't acknowledge the hemorrhage when it happened.

[00:16:40] I didn't, didn't take in that information, which was so, now it's so obvious, but at the time I was too quick to go, okay, I'm, I'm tired and my technique needs work. You know, I went down a little rabbit hole. Yeah. Do you think in some way you sort of made light of it because it was hard? Well, first of all, I think it was ignorance in the sense that you genuine, genuinely.

[00:17:03] Yeah. Didn't know that it was the cough that had caused it. Yeah. Yeah. And it was only when we both backtracked for various reasons that we worked that out. Uh, and that, uh, was super important because it meant that for you, it was very clear. No blame, no shame. Yeah. Yes. And actually for me as a teacher, for anyone listening who's a teacher mm-hmm.

[00:17:24] What do you think the teacher asks themselves? Mm-hmm. Have I not looked after this singer properly? Have I not advised them properly? Is their technique not as good and competent as I thought it was? Mm-hmm. Is there anything I did that led them to that place? Um, and that's why a clear diagnosis is very important.

[00:17:43] But just going back to the thing about having had a physical injury for which you didn't blame yourself and a Vocal injury for which you probably did in some way. What was important about mindset in terms of facing up to what had happened? You know, was it hard to face up to what had happened? It was incredibly hard.

[00:18:08] Yeah. I think it's chaotic. It your a singer's mind when they have an injury, it's chaotic. Mm-hmm. And so Oh it, and there's no escaping it either because it's not just going to work. You are talking to your friends, you're talking to your partner, you are on the phone. So it's you are facing up to it.

[00:18:33] It's across the board. Yeah. You know, it's, it's a daily thing. Yeah. So yeah, that was, that was incredibly difficult. And I think that that was the hardest part for me actually. You know, there was, it was quite an isolating, sort of in your head kind of time. Yes. Yeah. 

[00:18:51] I think you've said something that's really valuable. Mm-hmm. Which is, because as you know, I, I will have shared with you I hit a voice problem in my late twenties. And you are, you are right. It's there all the time. You're, you are, you're speaking to someone and your voice doesn't feel right and then you think, oh, well, okay, shall I just do a Hmm hmm. And it doesn't feel right and it's not normal.

[00:19:15] And so you begin to build this loop of anxiety and fear yes. Around something that quite honestly was not your fault to say nothing of how it's going to affect your career. There's fears about that. I think it's the impact as well. I mean, you, you have the injury and you have the aftermath of the injury, but you also have the impact.

[00:19:38] And as you've just said, the impact is much bigger than, I can't now sing this show. The impact is, I'm not sure whether I can sing any show, plus I'm, I'm communicating with everybody with my voice all day, or, or, you know, I'm, I'm constantly communicating with people, so I'm constantly aware that something is not right.

[00:19:57] And that's a, that's, personally as both an instrumentalist and a singer, I think that's a bigger impact on a singer than it is on an instrumentalist. I had a hand injury, I had two hand injuries as a pianist, and they had an impact on my career, as in I didn't know whether I was gonna have one after it. But it didn't impact my ability to carry on communicating with people.

[00:20:18] Yeah. And I think that the voice injury thing is so much more intimate. Mm-hmm. Because you use it all the time. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And it's your, your identity is, is at stake. Yes. Yes. You know, will my voice changed permanently? Mm-hmm. And you, you mentioned that loop going round and round and I, I've seen it in myself and in, in other singers, uh, that your, you know, your test, test, test, test, testing, testing, testing to seem, is there a change?

[00:20:45] Yeah. Yeah. And that's also that you are reading the whole time. You know, you, you could be asking. You know, just talking to somebody about something really basic and you are reading your voice. You are, you are, you are working out how does it feel? How does it sound? You know? It's exhausting. Yes, absolutely exhausting and all consuming. Yes. And that's, that's what, that's what the injury was for me. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. 

[00:21:07] So you got your diagnosis, uh, and you went to the voice clinic and you received a lot of support and care there, didn't you? Yeah. So do you want to talk a little bit about that and, and, and what happened initially?

[00:21:22] Um, so the initial diagnosis. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So you know, we got that, that image that we were waiting for to find out, you know, what are we dealing with mm-hmm. And rather dramatically, in my case it was, it, it's so bad that it was, you don't, don't look, don't look. It's, you know, it's super, very bruised.

[00:21:42] Yeah. And, uh, in hindsight I'm, I, I'm grateful for that. Yes. it was a shock to me at how, how serious it was. But we went on immediate and complete voice rest. Mm-hmm. For a week. Yeah. So don't say anything. I said goodbye to my partner uh, and I said, see you on the other side.

[00:22:04] You know? Um, but actually that was, that was great for me because it, the, the, the totalness of it. It, you know, there wasn't any kind of working out how much or how little I should be doing. It's just, just stop. Just stop. The decision. Yes. Yes. That's so interesting. Yes. The decision's made for you. Yep. There's no stress about can I use my voice today. At this point, you were lucky because you weren't a mom, so you didn't have a child who was wondering why mummy wasn't communicating with them.

[00:22:34] Yeah. Yeah. Which I think is very, very challenging for people with small children. Yeah. I'd be interested to know. What that's like. That's something I, I wonder if, if ever I have to do this again. I think how, how just one do it. If any listeners can tell me, say, say what their experiences are. I think that's a lovely idea.

[00:22:53] If anybody is listening who has had a voice problem and has had small children, how did you deal with that? How do you cope with it? Mm-hmm. So let us know. Send it, send it in to the comments. But it must have been a mental rest for you as well, which is I'm not constantly testing it out and like you said, I'm not worried about if I keep on using it, will it get worse? How much can I use it? 

[00:23:15] Um, it's a very clear instruction as well. It's like nothing. Stop. Yeah. I think that the rest was physical, but for me, the, the, the mental rest was, was, it was such a huge relief. Huge. Ah, I loved, I actually really liked voice rest. It's a comical moment. Isn't that fascinating. Yes. I think maybe, you know, me, you, you've worked with me a long time.

[00:23:38] Yeah. Maybe people that know me are like, oh, nice, bit quiet. Yeah. We'll take this. Yeah. Yeah. And, and also it means you don't have to respond to anybody. You can just be silent. Yeah. It must be so good for anxiety levels as well, that I think that's a fascinating insight. Thank you for that. 

[00:23:57] I wanna say something and that is, you are given a, You were not given three months. Mm-hmm. You were not given six months of not talking to somebody. It was a week. And that's a, that's a really great period of time because it's finite. It, it feels long when you first start it, but it's finite. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And then after the next visit, at some point you started to have speech therapy with an excellent speech therapist.

[00:24:22] And just tell us a little bit about, you know, what you were doing initially with that. Yeah. So we, we built up to, uh, it was about six minutes an hour I was allowed to speak. And then eight minutes and then, and so on and so on. And I think most that, a lot of that was because obviously when you've said nothing, you need to go, you need to go gently, you can't just start where you left off.

[00:24:45] Mm-hmm. So we, we built that up gradually. Lots of work with straw. SOVT, we started with a tube. I was given a very narrow straw, which was, the pressure was just and I said, so we stopped that pretty quick, quickly. So yeah, we did a lot of, uh, sort of, I had a tissue and a straw and I was lifting the tissue.

[00:25:10] I dunno if you remember this Gillyanne. I do, I do. Stretch. We were stretching, stretching, stretching out the Vocal folds. I mean, I've done SOVT courses with you guys, which I'm gonna say I strongly recommend. Mm-hmm. But before you get into the science of it, it's just magic. You're like, this is great.

[00:25:27] How does this work? I was just doing these magical, magical things that were working really, really well. So, yeah. And this was only on Speaking voice initially, wasn't it? Because I mean, I know the clinicians that you were working with and, uh, what we said was that you were not going to be doing any singing at all to begin with.

[00:25:46] Yeah. That we had to rehabilitate or habilitate your speaking voice first. So that, that's correct, isn't it? You were doing That is correct. Mm-hmm. Yeah. I think the first thing I sang, uh, through a tube, uh, was happy birthday. You know, we, we do, we were going at a real slow, gentle pace and, uh, we talked about that confidential voice as well, being an arms-length away from people, nothing more than that, you know just to make sure that you weren't sort of speaking too loudly.

[00:26:19] Um, and so yeah, it was easy, gentle phonation. It was kind of the mantra throughout that time. Yeah. And it really is about getting your Vocal folds working and meeting and feeling happy again. Yeah. And the confidential voice too, which it kind of takes a Vocal load off a little bit, doesn't it? You don't, you don't need to speak too heavy.

[00:26:42] Yeah. Exactly. So when you and I started working together, I think we did 15 or 20 minutes once we'd had the go ahead and my job just for listeners was to find out what was Katy doing with the speech and language therapist, how could I follow up on it? Um, make sure that I was very clear about what she was doing.

[00:27:06] And then maybe translating from speaking voice into singing on one note or singing a phrase on one note and gradually building up. And the we had several short sessions, didn't we, to start to get you back into singing again. Yeah, yeah. And then, and you know, at that point in time for me working with you was, was it was so wonderful to work with somebody that knew me from before.

[00:27:36] Yeah. That was such a key part for me that you could say things with knowledge because you, we, you know, it wasn't the first time of meeting and working through things. So you know, that's something that I think I would sort of say to singers as well is, is that, you know, try and have someone throughout your career that you, you know, and trust and you can work with because when things are difficult, it makes such a, such a huge difference to, to you that you are, you are not starting from at ground level.

[00:28:09] because I know your voice and I know what your voice is normally capable of, I just wanna drop in here because is a, it's such an interesting process, the whole business of, of getting back to where you were because the, yeah, the, the job of a speech therapist or a, a speech language pathologist is to get your, your voice working again.

[00:28:29] Your speaking voice, working again. Yeah. And the interesting thing is there's then a jump to singing. Because singing, whatever type of singing you do is by definition more athletic. Mm-hmm. Yes. So you have to sustain pitch, you have to sustain a ranges, a range of pitches, and the tone quality becomes more important.

[00:28:47] Yeah. So there's a sort of step up from the speech therapy department whose job is to get your voice functioning again. Whereas with the singer, it's to get your singing, singing teacher, it's to get your singing back to where it was. And that's an, that's another step up. And my gig, my gig voice as well, and this is something that you and I still talk about, is that You are not just singing.

[00:29:10] Mm-hmm. And most singers don't just sing. We have to speak, we have to speak with a high energy. You have to get the crowd going, you know? Um, so you can't come in gently, you know, so you don't wanna be leaping back into action. You've got to have you've got to have your person that knows your job, that knows your gig.

[00:29:31] Yeah. And can get you ready for that. Yeah. Which, like you said, is so different to just a healthy voice. Yes. Well there's there's a whole energetic persona that comes in as well. Yes. For a performer. Yeah. We did a lot of work on that subsequently, didn't we? About, you know, introductions and me getting you to show me what were key phrases that you had to say and what the energy level might be. And I know we practice doing them if the crowd is quite quiet, if the crowd is noisy. Yeah. And how you're going to manage that. Mm-hmm. 

[00:30:05] But let's go from, because we got to a stage, didn't we? I mean, I think it was like the following May or something like that. Yeah. Where you were able to do some gigs again, and you were singing again, and, and you did fine.

[00:30:22] Um, we chose gentle gigs and made sure that you were singing at a pitch range that you could easily manage. And, and it went well, didn't it? It did. Yeah. I, I remember, and there was, even within that time, there was even a short tour as well. I noticed improvements even at that point, even though it wasn't, you know, as we were gonna discuss, I wasn't back to normal.

[00:30:42] Mm-hmm. But there were definite improvements even from pre-injury. Mm-hmm. Because we were doing some great work. You know, I was finding ways to make my voice more efficient Trusting. Trusting the work that we were doing. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And not getting tired with planning and pacing and lots of gentle, you know, it wasn't just, I'll be full-time again.

[00:31:02] You know, we had to be quite cautious about what we took on. I, by the way, my husband noticed this. This is an aside um, I talk about we, which I love when I talk about this process, I don't talk about me. I say we, I love, I have this team. I felt like I had a team of people with me. I'm sort of going slightly off topic, but I just caught myself doing it that, you know, when, when we were getting myself, getting me back into gigs, it was a we job.

[00:31:27] It wasn't a me job. And I just thought that was a really lovely, positive way that we were, we were working together at the time. Absolutely. Thank you. It takes a team and I think what you've said about pacing and timing is something that, uh, I know you have learned to do within gig. Okay. In terms of sets and how you use your voice.

[00:31:49] So, you know what we call Vocal loading? Yes. We're really looking at your Vocal loading. You were much more mindful of your Vocal loading instead of the trap that I think so many particularly musical theatre singers fall into, which is I must give a hundred percent all the time. And you had a dance training.

[00:32:11] Mm-hmm. And what does dance training do? Everything must be 10 out of 10. Mm-hmm. Yes. Yeah. And, you know, it's, it's still, it's still something I'm constantly recalibrating all the time. You know, I've looked at videos of me in the past and I think, gosh, I wanna go back in time and say, you could do this.

[00:32:30] You could do it better and much more, much more easily. But we do, we, we, we. We give everything. We give everything. You know, you bleed to give, you know everything you've got to a song and then you think, oh, I've gotta do it all again tomorrow. You know, you've gotta pace yourself. Yeah. Good, good, good, good.

[00:32:49] Cause I know this is a place you, you have a very different mindset now, I think where we should go next, which is, so you were doing okay. Things had improved a lot. Yep. What informed the decision, why did you go for the Vocal surgery? 

[00:33:06] So before we go any further, this feels like a good stopping point, a good pit stop on the journey. So we are gonna end this episode if you want to hear more about Kate's story, and particularly the whole process of going through surgery and what happened afterwards, you need to listen to the next episode.

[00:33:22] And Jeremy, can we thank Kate for allowing us to use her story as one of the units in the 12 MORE Hours course. We have a course online, which is called the 12 MORE Hours to Better Singing Teaching teaching. And one of the units in it is My Singer Has A Voice Problem. And Kate's case history is part of that course.

[00:33:42] And not only do you hear, we got recordings of Kate, we've got recordings of you singing before and after surgery. Mm-hmm. And I have to tell you the, the after has to be heard. It's so good. And also you have allowed us to use images of your Vocal folds. Yes. So people can see the injury that you had.

[00:34:01] It's just very generous of you to allow that because it's such an important thing for singing teachers to understand that it's not the end of the world. And also, I mean, on the course, I share more about the particulars of what I did. Yes. To help Kate, you know, get back into Vocal Health and singing teachers can then understand what their job is in the post rehab phase. Totally. And we will put a link to 12 MORE Hours to Better Singing Teaching in the show notes. 

[00:34:30] So, Kate, until the next time, next episode, we'll see you there. Bye.

[00:34:36] This is a Voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. This Is A Voice